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Stocks Down 2nd Straight Day: Prime, Lilly, United Q3 & More

Market indexes closed lower for their second-straight session, following a string of four days in a row higher. As Q3 earnings and dribs and drabs of economic data trickle in to inform underlying strength (or lack thereof), some of the headier optimism in the market seems to have burned off a bit.

The Nasdaq fell 0.80% on the day, followed by the S&P 500 -0.66% and the Dow -0.58%. The Russell 2000, which had been enjoying stronger trading days than the bigger indexes, fell the most, down 0.93%.

Amazon’s AMZN Prime Day, which concludes at the end of this, its second day of limited-time sales on select items across retail segments. Early reports of results are typically good for the e-commerce giant, with 26% gains in spending expected to have occurred in the first seven hours of the promotion. However, other major retailers with strong on-line presences have managed to take a slice out of consumers’ active search for deals in retail, with Best Buy BBY, Target TGT and Walmart WMT all posting e-commerce gains of around 2% during Amazon’s big “day.”

Eli Lilly & Co. LLY has announced it is pausing its Covid-19 monoclonal antibody trial, although without a clear event cited for the pause. Lilly did point out in its statement that it remains the only ongoing coronavirus trial to include only hospitalized patients, who have likely been infected longer with the disease, and with more symptoms and complications.

The highest profile example of the use of a monoclonal antibody treatment thus far was President Trump, who reportedly received Gilead’s GILD remdesivir under an “emergency use” authorization. Remdesivir is not currently on the market for use for Covid-19 patients who do not receive “emergency use” status.

The Energy sector has bounced back this Wednesday, partially on the news of ConocoPhillips’ COP talks to acquire Concho Resources CXO for an undisclosed amount. Concho shares rose 15% initially on the report — which would be another major consolidation in Permian Basin assets, as was the Devon/WPX merger a few weeks ago — and has leveled off around +10% at today’s close. Energy overall is down roughly 50% year to date.

Reporting Q3 results after the closing bell is United Airlines UAL, which underperformed even very dire estimates: a loss of $8.16 per share was below the -$7.63 analysts were expecting, on $2.48 billion in sales which came up short of the $2.57 billion in the Zacks consensus. The airline gave no guidance date for “breakeven,” and reported that it is working off $19.4 billion in liquidity. Cash burn is down to $25 million a day, half of what it was back in the March quarter. Shares are down 1.2% in late trading.

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